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Tuesday, September 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Nymphing in the lower Yakima River canyon has been good to great lately. Pat’s Stones, Lightning Bugs, King Princes and caddis pupa patterns have been the ticket. Big summer stone dry fishing has been fair to good. The best hatch is still a week away.

Fly fishermen are starting to show up on the Methow River as water levels begin to recede.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee fishermen are buzzing about the great night fishery. Friends who fished there this week marked a lot of fish in 38 feet of water, but didn’t catch any until they moved in to 31. After that, limits came in an hour on Glo Hooks and maggots. The highway side approximately 100 yards from shore north of Granite Point has been popular.

From shore or boat, West Medical has been fair for trout running 2-5 pounds, although a lot of tiny planters are also being hooked. Williams Lake is slowing down, but the area around Tree 11 seems to always be good for a few trout.

Chelan kokanee are also biting at 30-35 feet near Rocky Point. Like those in Coeur d’Alene, they are mostly 9-10 inches. Best trolling speed is around 1.3 mph.

Rock Lake trollers have found fish dragging Wedding Rings and worms on the far end. Size has been smaller than usual, with lots of 11- to 12-inchers. Fish are about 30 feet down.

On the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area along the Tucannon River in Columbia County, anglers are still catching lots of hatchery-stocked rainbow trout in several of the area’s man-made lakes.

Salmon and steelhead

Summer-run salmon are pouring up the Columbia River, and although heavy flows continue to hamper angler’s efforts, there are both chinook and sockeye being caught in the big eddy below Wanapum Dam and in the Wenatchee area.

Big summer run chinook are passing over Rocky Reach Dam at well more than 1,000 fish a day, and sockeye numbers are pushing 8,000 a day. Anglers fishing above the barrier are picking up fish as they make their way up the river. Fishing below Wells Dam can be treacherous, but when the water is fishable, some anglers are doing OK on Kwikfish and Superbaits. Bank fishermen do well at times. The launch below Wells dam was under water at midweek and boaters had to put in downriver at the park.

Few chinook are being taken in the Brewster Pool, and no sockeye to speak of. Salmon are blowing up the Okanogan without staging.

The fall steelhead harvest season in Idaho opens Monday on a 2-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston. The daily limit is two fish with six in possession. Daily steelhead counts over Lower Granite have gone from the low 100s to the mid-200s this week. Upstream of the Memorial Bridge, steelhead fishing in the Clearwater is limited to catch-and-release.

Catch-and-release fishing opens Monday on the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers and on the Snake River from the Washington border and the confluence with the Clearwater to Hells Canyon Dam.

The lower Wind River also opens Monday and Drano Lake reverts back to a daily limit of two adult salmon. Hatchery chinook and hatchery coho may be retained.  Buoy 10 will be open for chinook and hatchery coho starting Monday through Aug. 28. Anglers will have a two-salmonid daily limit, only one of which may be a chinook. Chinook anglers at Sekiu report the coho and pinks are already there in great numbers.

In Idaho, the Park Hole section of the lower Salmon and the South Fork Salmon are closed to all salmon fishing. The Little Salmon River will remain open. The upper Salmon River, from about the town of North Fork upstream to Ellis, remains open. In the Clearwater River drainage, all sections remain open to chinook salmon fishing. In the mainstem Clearwater River downstream of Orofino Bridge and the North Fork Clearwater River, anglers may harvest only jack salmon.

Spiny ray

Liberty Lake perch running 8-9 inches are biting well in weed beds in the middle of the lake. Look for 20-25 feet of water.

The tiger muskie bite at Newman Lake continues strong. The northern pike bite on the Pend Oreille River can be good one day and dead the next.

Potholes Reservoir largemouth fishing is good in the dunes and around the beaver huts. Anglers throwing imitation topwater frogs are having a ball on the west side of the sand dunes. For smallmouth, go deep and slow with small plastics. Walleye fishermen are picking up fish to 12 pounds. Try trolling a Shad Rap in depths from 7-15 feet along any of the major channels in the sand dunes. The best walleye area is still Crab Creek, but the Winchester arm, Frenchman’s Wasteway, and Goose Island are not far behind.

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been good in the Kettle Falls area. The Washington State Walleye Championship will be held there Saturday and Sunday. Registration for a two-man team is $385 if the big fish and big stringer options are included. Payout is $10,000.Info: Mike O’Donnell (208) 676-9491.

Other species

The late halibut season in Marine Area 1 opens Aug. 5. The fishery there will be open Friday through Sunday until the quota is taken or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first. Halibut fishing in Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) is open in the northern nearshore area seven days per week until the quota is reached or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first.


The first hunting season in the region begins Monday for black bear in Lincoln and Whitman counties GMU 133 Roosevelt, 136 Harrington, 139 Steptoe and 142 Almota. Black bear hunting opens Aug. 13 in Spokane County GMUs 124 Mount Spokane, 127 Mica Peak and 130 Cheney.

Contact Alan Liere at
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